A Managing Director from Shifnal is the winner of the Midlands IoD, Director of the Year Agility & Resilience Award, after capitalising on the challenges she faced as Covid struck in March 2020.
Marisa Firkins, CMIOSH, is the Managing Director of Safety Forward Ltd. which has recently built a state-of-the-art virtual training facility and migrated larger clients to *T100 Business Safety Systems.
It is one of the few preferred suppliers in the area, and can now manage support and training remotely, which has been extremely well received by clients.
The IoD comments: “The business was heavily impacted by Covid-19 but Marisa took full accountability, reviewed the values and culture of Safety Forward Ltd., building a business case for a new wellbeing service. Flexibility and an ethical approach to the needs of clients during the crisis highlighted how the business’s slogan of “Putting People First” is more than just words.”
Marisa says: “I can’t describe how much this award means to me after such a challenging 12 months. There have been times when I have doubted myself, but have had the undying support of family, friends and the team. I am truly grateful to them. I was once told I was a “housewife who got lucky” which has spurred me out of my comfort zone for the last 10 years to do what I truly believe in.”
Utilising grant funds from Staffordshire Business Skills Hub, Staffordshire Innovation and the Government, it has upskilled, including SMAS (Safety Management Advisory Service). Marisa Firkins says: “I was so thrilled to find a young man locally via the Govt. Kickstart Programme which we are using again. My best talent has a limited skillset but passion and drive.I will provide technical, qualifications and mentoring.” It is also recruiting qualified, experienced consultants locally, in the Midlands and UK.”
The company offers free PDF Covid-19 Health and Safety Guides available to download from its website, including a business continuity plan, business impact analysis, developing a return-to-work plan, pandemic contingency plan, Covid-19 Tool Box Talk, free health & safety health check. Introductory webinars and podcasts for local businesses.
Independent, practical health and safety consultancy, fully qualified and certified, providing bespoke training available online, is key. Addressing a gap in the market for hands on cost effective, accurate health and safety advice demonstrates real business benefits, moral, social and financial. From helping local companies gain industry accreditations to tender for new contracts such as CHAS, Constructionline, Safe Contractor, HSE, Altius etc. to unique hands-on bespoke health and safety consultancy across a variety of business sectors including the likes of recently floated Brickability Group. From manufacturing, engineering, construction, aerospace, warehouse & logistics, charities, retail, food, to universities and more. It is CDM (Construction Design & Management Specialist) accredited.
Marisa believes: “The pandemic and supporting clients through Covid-19 has reinforced just how important people are within businesses as assets requiring care and consideration. Effectively managing remote workers attracts the best talent.
“Traditional health and safety methods will need to change and adapt in light of the greatest overhaul our economy has seen.” Marisa concludes.
Marisa worked for the National Crime Agency UK for over 22 years moving into health & safety, setting up Safety Forward 8 years ago.